Managing Drought in Forest Ecosystems

More wildfire. More insects and diseases. Less predictable timber supply. Less predictable water supply. Changing wildlife habitat. Severe drought can cause all of these impacts, and more. USDA Forest Service scientists and partners have created a new resource to help land managers anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from drought. “Maintaining healthy and diverse…  More 

Assessing the Health of U.S. Forests

Forests are complex ecosystems. They are constantly changing as a result of tree growth, variations in weather and climate, and disturbances from fire, pathogens, and other stressors. The USDA Forest Service Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) program tracks these ongoing changes — every year, across the nation — as a forest health check up. The 2018…  More 

Coastal Forests Face Rising Sea Levels, Increased Salinity

Ghost forests aren’t some spooky legend. They’re patches of dead and dying trees that haunt the coastlines of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia where sea levels are rising and land is sinking. USDA Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service scientists are working with partners across the coastal plain to understand where these watery…  More 

Green Line Meeting in Arkansas Promotes Collaboration

On September 10, a Green Line meeting brought USDA Forest Service researchers and managers together, along with state partners. Participants represented the Southern Research Station, the Ouachita National Forest, the Ozark National Forest, and the Arkansas Forestry Commission. Twenty-eight people attended the meeting, including leadership from SRS, the Southern Region and Arkansas state forester Joe…  More 

Study Wins Water Resources Research Editor’s Choice Award

Over the last three decades, forest vegetation has begun using significantly more water, as long-term climate and streamflow data reveal. USDA Forest Service scientists Jim Vose and Dave Wear contributed to the study, which was led by Taehee Hwang, an assistant professor at the University of Indiana. The findings were published in the journal Water…  More 

Firesetting Arrests Reduce Future Intentional Fires

New research by the USDA Forest Service explores how law enforcement efforts might impact future incidents of arson. “We found very little documented research on whether arrests, as a distinct measure of law enforcement efforts, are linked to reductions in the occurrence of intentional fires or whether such efforts have broader impacts across space and…  More 

Laurel Wilt Disease and the Endangered Pondberry Shrub

Pondberry (Lindera melissifolia) is a rare, federally endangered shrub that’s found scattered around bottomland forests of the southeastern U.S. In late summer, the shrub produces spicy, crimson-colored fruits. Like other native Lauraceae species, its leaves give off a sweet, citrusy scent when crushed. And, like its Lauraceous brethren redbay and sassafras, pondberry is susceptible to…  More 

Experimental Forest Network in Action Mode

Nineteen USDA Forest Service experimental forests grace the South. Each was established to solve a specific natural resource problem, and some are nearing a century old. Pressing natural resource problems at that time included naval pitch pine stores and reforesting vast cutover lands. In 2015, SRS began creating a network for data, ideas, people, and…  More 

Pondberry Responds to Light Availability and Soil Flooding

Pondberry is endangered, but it can persist through environmental stress. It prefers partial sun but can linger in deep shade for years. It can survive long periods of soil flooding, and even flowers while it’s flooded. “All indications are that this species would benefit from active management,” says Emile Gardiner, a USDA Forest Service research…  More 

African American Forest Landowners: Overcoming Obstacles

African American landowners have had a historically difficult time becoming engaged in forestry due to a number of factors, including discrimination. Another factor is heirs’ property, which refers to land that has been passed down informally from generation to generation without a will. This often means that distant relatives co-own a piece of land, and…  More